Thursday, March 19, 2020


New York Times, April 27, 2011 (emphasis added):
Armadillos have never been among the cuddly creatures routinely included in petting zoos, but on Wednesday federal researchers offered a compelling reason to avoid contact with the armored animals altogether: They are a source of leprosy infections in humans.

Using genetic sequencing machines, researchers were able to confirm that about a third of the leprosy cases that arise each year in the United States almost certainly result from contact with infected armadillos. The cases are concentrated in Louisiana and Texas, where some people hunt, skin and eat armadillos.

... doctors sometimes fail to consider leprosy in patients who have not traveled to parts of the world where the disease is endemic, like India, Brazil, Africa, the Philippines and other islands in the Western Pacific.

... in a given year, about 50 to 80 people who have symptoms consistent with leprosy tell their doctors that they have not traveled to such areas or had any contact with someone with a leprosy infection. And in these patients, doctors may mistakenly dismiss consideration of a leprosy infection.

“These patients have always been a puzzle,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases....

Leprosy now joins a host of other infectious diseases — including flu, H.I.V./AIDS and SARS — that are known to have jumped from animals to humans.

Yes, leprosy is treatable now, and you have to go out of your way to contract it this way in America. But some people do in this country, Senator. Some of them do it in your state.



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